SBD/June 5, 2013/Franchises

Did Hawks In Letter To Ticket Buyers Violate NBA's Anti-Tampering Policy?

Howard (l) and Paul are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents July 1
The Hawks may have “violated the NBA’s anti-tampering policy by mentioning” Lakers C Dwight Howard and Clippers G Chris Paul “by name in a recent letter sent to prospective ticket buyers,” according to Chris Vivlamore of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Howard and Paul are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents July 1. A team is “not allowed to speak about them publicly” with each player still under contract. The letter was “sent via email by a member of the ticket-sales department.” It was on team letterhead and headlined “Hot New Player news: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.” It read in part, “Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.” The letter included “a link to a story on ESPN.com reporting that Paul was unhappy with the notion that he played a role in the dismissal of coach Vinny Del Negro last month.” Hawks President Bob Williams last night in a statement said, “The letter that has been referred to was written by one of our season-ticket reps of his own volition. … It is unfortunate that this mistake, by a single ticket rep with no ill intent, occurred” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/5). ESPN.com notes the Hawks “have the cap room to sign both Paul and Howard, an Atlanta native, to lucrative contracts.” The pair has “spoken in the past about joining forces.” Still, Howard has been “lukewarm at best about the idea of playing in his hometown” (ESPN.com, 6/4).
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